Are you sometimes confused by the technical jargon thrown around by airlines, travel agencies and hotels? Could be you have come across these mysterious terms in the small print of their contracts, tickets, website and so on.

Having been in similar situations a number of times myself, I began looking up some of the meanings and I ended with this list of 25 common ones you are free to add to.

  1. Add-on: A selection, typically at an increased price, added to a travel reservation.
  2. Advance purchase requirement: Ticket must be purchased a minimum number of days before the flight departs.
  3. Base fare: The cost of an airfare prior to addition of fees, taxes or surcharges.
  4. Blackout dates: Specific dates in which special fares or promotions do not apply. Typically, blackout dates exist around holidays or special events.
  5. Global Distribution System (GDS): An international computer reservation system that accesses many databases of suppliers, airlines, etc. in different countries. Sabre, the world’s largest travel reservation system, is a good example.
  6. Hub: A city in which an airline has a major presence. Often, it is the city in which the airline was formed.
  7. Layover: The period of time spent between connecting flights.
  8. Limited service hotel: A hotel without a restaurant on the premises.
  9. Net fare, net rate: Implies the commission has already been added to the price of the fare.
  10. Personal effects coverage: Additional car rental insurance covering loss of personal property from the rented vehicle.
  11. Red-eye flight: A flight in which the travel takes place between the hours of 9 PM and 7 AM.
  12. Round trip: Two flights: the destination flight and its return trip.
  13. Shoulder season: The period of time between busy and quiet seasons in which prices are typically at a midpoint.
  14. Suite: A hotel room that usually offers a living room and kitchenette in addition to the bedroom.
  15. Reissue: When a new ticket is issued as a result of a change of plans. This can often require fees or penalties from the airport.
  16. Fare basis (code): The code that determines the price of an airline ticket.
  17. Consolidator: A business that has contracts with airlines to sell tickets in bulk, generally at a discounted rate.
  18. Rack rate: The price of a hotel prior to discount.
  19. Eclipse chaser: A person who travels specifically to observe solar eclipses, often aboard cruise ships with special eclipse itineraries.
  20. Vagabonding: Independent travel for an extended period of time, typically overseas and on a limited budget. The term was popularised by travel writer Rolf Potts in his book of the same name.
  21. Boutique hotel: A small property, typically offering an enhanced level of service and marketed to the affluent and so a boutique operation would be any business venture that seeks to provide an enhanced level of service, at a premium price, to a select clientele.
  22. Machine readable passport: A passport that has biographic information entered on the data page according to international specifications. A machine readable passport is required to travel with a via on the Visa Waiver Program. The new generation Kenyan passport is now machine readable.
  23. Family style: A style of serving meals in which food is brought to the table in serving dishes, for people to help themselves, rather than put on individual plates in the kitchen. A buffet is a family style.
  24. Gastro-tourism: Recreational travel undertaken solely or primarily to experience the food and wine of a region. Such a traveller is called a gastronaut.
  25. Online Reputation Management (ORM): The business practice of monitoring web sites and social networking sites for mentions of and comments about a company’s brand and products, so that the company can respond quickly, appropriately, and effectively to counter negative comments and perceptions. Hotels, airlines, and other travel suppliers have increasingly made this practice a priority.

That is my travel jargon list. If you have some more, let’s hear them!